New Breed of Entrepreneur: St. David’s Episcopal Church

Revs

Downtown Austin leaders have a unique perspective regarding traffic concerns and how they impact local businesses. Rev. David Boyd is the Rector at St. David’s Episcopal Church in downtown Austin and Rev. Katie Wright is the Associate Rector. St. David’s has a long Austin history, dating back to 1853 and has been a popular downtown destination for many years.

 

1. How do you see transportation impacting your church? How should we think about or rethink mobility in downtown?

At St. David’s, part of our mission is to be the downtown center of community. Which means that our future success depends on people’s ability to get into and out of downtown in a manner that is convenient for them. If they can’t, then they will choose to go elsewhere.

Additionally, part of our theological foundation is that creation was entrusted to our care, not given to us to consume. So, our mission then is to encourage people to be aware of the environmental impacts of their lives and that includes transportation. That is also true from a health perspective. We must take care of our bodies and active transportation is a great way to do that.

2. Do many of your employees and parishioners use options like bicycling, transit, carpooling, etc.?

 Most of our parishioners and employees do not live downtown. Those that do frequently bike and walk to church, and I ride a scooter into downtown each day.  Likewise, many of our parishioners and employees use all modes: bike, walk, carpool, and public transit. We also have a cycling group that meets at the church each week. Our assistant rector, up until very recently, was a 1 car family for a family of five. They are very familiar with all options!

4. St. David’s is using some interesting transportation options. Why is this important for the church and for downtown?

 We are constantly evolving and innovating in ways that are in step with where the Austin community is as far as healthy living and transportation. That is why we are looking into creating a downtown bicycle commuter station complete with lockers, showers, and secure bike parking. We also have outlets for electric vehicles to charge in our parking garage. Additionally, we are exploring bike share stations as well as temporary bike parking for events during SXSW. These are all ways that we achieve our mission of being the place for community in downtown, while also improving our community at the same time.

I’d like to stress that these improvements aren’t just for our members, but for the community as a whole. As G.K. Chesterson said, “The church is the only institution that exists solely for the benefit of nonmembers.”

I like to challenge our church to try as many ideas as possible, knowing that many won’t work, but the few that do work will have a positive impact on our members, the community, and generations to come. It is especially important for the church to evolve as our community does.

 5.  What would you like to see Movability Austin, Cap Metro, or someone else do to help with transportation into and around downtown?

I would really love to see more efficient means of moving people. That includes all modes: more buses and light rail in downtown. I love the improved bike lanes I’ve been seeing around town.

One Response to New Breed of Entrepreneur: St. David’s Episcopal Church

  1. Pat Ford says:

    Makes me proud to be a member of St. David’s!